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Exciting Graham-Beaver football week planned in Bluefield | News

Details of the first special week-long event leading up to the annual Graham-Beaver football game were released on Monday.

The game is set for Mitchell Stadium on Aug. 26 at 7:30 pm, but the week is chock full of activities and events.

Bluefield City Manager Cecil Marson said he hopes this will be the “future seminal event in the community,” as many people from all over the country return to watch the traditional rivalry, filling the 10,000 seats at Mitchell Stadium.

Events before the game will kick off on Aug. 20 with a 5K run.

Rick Showalter, the city’s Parks and Recreation director, said the race will start at 9 am with registration beginning at 7 am

Runners will start on Bland Street at the Chamber of Commerce and run to Bluefield, Va. ending at the New Graham Pharmacy.

“It’s a big event to connect the two cities,” Marson said.

The first 100 to register receive a free t-shirt.

On Aug. 23, the Bluefield Shriners will set up a carnival on Princeton Avenue beside the TailYard dog park and it will be there all week through Aug. 27.

Marson said it will not be as large as other carnivals but will have rides for kids and other attractions.

The carnival will be open from 4 pm to 10 pm Tuesday through Thursday, 4 pm to midnight on Friday and 11 am to midnight on Saturday.

A golf tourney will be held at Fincastle on Aug. 24.

Showalter said the tourney will have 18 teams, nine playing for Graham and nine playing for Bluefield.

“The teams with the total lowest score will win,” he said, and proceeds from the tourney will go to the winning school’s athletic teams.

Registration deadline is Aug.19, Showalter said, at a cost of $400 a team (four to a team), captain’s choice, with tee time at 10 am Teams must register in person at the Fitness and Recreation Center on College Avenue.

Also on Aug. 24, the Granada Theater will host the first Legends of the Rivalry.

Marson said Bluefield High School past athletes and coaches will gather, participate in a “roundtable” discussion on stage and it will be a chance to reminisce, talk about past games and the history of the rivalry. An emcee with also be onstage.

Brian Tracey, executive director of the Bluefield Arts & Revitalization Corp. (BARC), said clips from previous big games will also be shown.

Tracey said a cash bar will be open as well as concessions and the gelato shop as the event gives those who come a chance to mingle and get reacquainted.

“Our hope is that lots of folks will come down to the Granada,” Marson said, and they can also bring kids to have fun at the carnival.

A parade and pep rally are planned for Aug. 25 at 6 pm

Marson said athletes and coaches in all fall sports programs at BHS will walk down Commerce Street to Chicory Square.

“The goal is to have Chicory Square lined with people,” he said, with the pep rally following at Chicory Square at 6:30 pm

Vendors and food trucks on Raleigh Street as well as a beer tent in the fenced in area beside the former Big Whiskey will be there all week through Saturday starting Wednesday from 4 pm to 10 pm

On game day, tailgating in the grassy area beside Bowen Field opens at 9 am

Showalter said reservations can be made online for spots and there are no fees this year, it is based on a first-come, first-served basis.

He also said no alcoholic beverages will be allowed.

General parking for the game begins at 4 pm

On Saturday, Aug. 27, the Lemonade Festival is back, starting at 11 am, with more vendors lining Raleigh Street and other activities

Chicory Square will feature entertainment, including performances by students from the Bluefield Dance Theater and STARZ Performing Arts Academy.

The week will conclude that night with a party at the Granada Theater, celebrating the first anniversary of its reopening.

Nicole Thompson, house manager and programming director for BARC, said the group Envision will perform.

Thompson said they specialize in Motown and beach music, but “play a little bit of everything.”

“There will be dancing in the aisles,” she said.

The party is from 7 pm to 9 pm and tickets are $25.

It is a week full of activities, events and celebrations.

Marson said he hopes this is the first of what will become a much anticipated annual tradition to celebrate one of the nation’s longest running high school football rivalries.

— Contact Charles Boothe at


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